Mayor Pete Buttigieg interview. TRANSCRIPT: 8/6/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Bret Stephens, Pete Buttigieg, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Tom Steyer

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  She was speaking about something much deeper.  And

we leave her final words as our final words tonight.


Thank you for watching THE BEAT.  “HARDBALL” starts now.




Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.


American history has showcased leaders commanding the moral authority

needed to face this country`s long challenges.  Abraham Lincoln opposed the

expansion of slavery and won the war that ended it.  FDR stood firm against

Hitler and saved the world from fascism.  Martin Luther king marched for

civil rights and ultimately sacrificed his life for it.  And Presidents

Kennedy, Truman and Reagan had to resolve to avert catastrophe during the

cold war.  Their moral authority helped this country survive and prevail.


Now, however, we find ourselves without it.  The dual attacks of this

weekend raised the question whether we can address gun violence and the

rising threat of white nationalism.  Trump`s official response was a

scripted speech he read Monday from a teleprompter in the diplomatic room

of the White House.  Trump recited the kinds of words condemning white

supremacy and hate killings that a president should say in the wake of such

a tragedy.


But they were words he could neither credibly deliver nor be taken to

heart.  As The Washington Post points out, that unifying message stood in

stark contrast to more than two and a half years of name-calling,

demonizing minorities and inflaming racial animus.


Trump`s speech came on Monday after a visit to his golf club in New Jersey,

where he spent part of the weekend complaining to allies and club members

of the golf resort about media coverage that seemed to blame him for the



According to this report in The Post, Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller

led the effort to draft the speech he gave on Monday, and White House aides

talked to Trump about what he would say and how his tone should be

presidential.  But as he often does, the President spoke more candidly on

Twitter, where he blamed the media and attacked President Obama.


Meanwhile, the President heads tomorrow to El Paso and Dayton.


I`m joined right now by Yamiche Alcindor, White House Correspondent for the

PBS NewsHour.  Jason Johnson is Politics Editor of The Root.  Bret Stephens

an Op-Ed Columnist at The New York Times.  Thank you all for joining us.


There`s a Jekyll and Hyde aspect to this.  But, clearly, what is credible,

Yamiche, is Trump on Tweet, the one he Tweets out, what a great word,

Tweet, at 6:30 in the morning when most people are still asleep.  That`s

Trump.  This guy reading a teleprompter, I love it, in the diplomatic room. 

In other words, the room where you have to be diplomatic.  Your thoughts. 

Who is the real guy?



The great Toni Morrison that died today said, if you can only be tall if

someone else is on your knees, then you have a serious problem.  And there

are people all across this country who think the President has a serious

problem likely shown on Twitter, which is that he wants to demonize other

people.  He wants to make immigrants as scapegoats.


I just came back from Dayton, Ohio, where people there are pointing to his

rhetoric to say, not only is he creating divisions in our own community,

but he`s also – I mean, his inaction in gun reform and in passing gun

legislation, he is creating the societies and creating this atmosphere that

is making us all unsafe.


I think, yes, the President definitely changed his tone and condemned white

nationalism.  But he said nothing of how his own words could have

contributed to this unstable individual going and killing so many people in

El Paso.  He could have said, look, people think I`m talking to white

nationalists.  I`m not doing that.  People think when I say immigrants are

invading this country that you should then go out and shoot them, I`m not

doing that.  He could have made it so much more personal, and he didn`t do



Part of that is because he doesn`t want to be tied to this thing.  But it`s

hard for him to be credible on this topic because the people I`ve talked to

all across this country just don`t see him as a moral authority for all

sorts of reasons, including the fact that he has added to this atmosphere.


MATTHEWS:  Well, Jason, of course, he never used the word I in that

scripted remarks.  He didn`t blame – he said guns kill people, not people. 

He did anything he could to relieve guns of any moral responsibility,

obviously.  And he didn`t mention the fact that it was a Latino community

that was targeted, that there was an ethnic piece, a racial piece, never

mentioned it.


JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THE ROOT:  Because the President doesn`t

care, Chris.  Like at his core, I don`t think he only cares.  He only cares

about these things to the degree that they reflect on him.


And so the key thing, which is the real Trump?  We all know who the real

Donald Trump is.  That`s the guy who gets in front of crowds in Cincinnati.


MATTHEWS:  Why did he do this phony baloney thing yesterday?


JOHNSON:  Because he has people who advise him who say you have to at least

pretend that you care about how to do this job.  He wasn`t his typical

funny, witty, engaging self.  You know what he`s like.  He looks like he is

making a hostage video.  And he has that odd stuff that he gets.


MATTHEWS:  Yes, definitely.  Like he had his fingers crossed.


JOHNSON:  Yes, fingers crossed that sort of keep himself concentrated and



And here`s the problem, Chris.  At the end of the day, when you don`t have

any sort of moral authority at the top of a country, it makes it difficult

for anyone else to act on the problems that are there.  The republicans

feel like they`re stymied because they don`t have moral leadership from the

President.  The democrats have to waste time criticizing the President and

then enacting their own policies.  We don`t have leadership right now in

this country.  That`s why some of these issues are so difficult to tackle.


MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Bret Stephens on this issue, because even Bill

Clinton with his limited – some on the moral front, he had some problems,

to be honest about it. But, you know, in Oklahoma city and he went down

there and talked for the country, people believed it.  They thought, you

know, at least, on a lot of levels, Bill Clinton is a good guy.  He may

have problems but he`s a good guy.


And on this issue about caring about the country, caring about how the

government was attacked of the American people because it was the

government of the American people, he was credible, morally credible, I




credible.  I remember George w. Bush downtown in Manhattan in the days

after 9/11 or even going back to the Reagan administration after the

challenger disaster, the killing of our marines in Beirut.


Presidents in history have always been able to rise to the occasion and to

unite the country beyond partisanship.  Trump is uniquely unable to do so,

because from the very beginning, not just of his presidency, but of his

candidacy, he has been demonizing multiple racial and ethnic groups.


It began with the birtherism.  It continued with the assault on Latin

American immigrants when he announced his candidacy in 2015.  I`ll never

forget the way he characterized Judge Gonzalo Curiel as unfit to be a judge

simply for being Mexican-American, his assaults on Muslim Americans.


So all of this has a cumulative impact, which is why the statements that he

read from the teleprompter the other day seems so weightless, so insincere

and so contrived, and why you can bet, just as he did after

Charlottesville, that pretty soon we`re going hear from the real Donald

Trump communicating to his following to a base that doesn`t entirely mind

the assault, not the violent assault, but the rhetorical assault on Latin

American immigrants, on Mexican-American citizens.


MATTHEWS:  I think he is going to circle around like other people have

thought, but he`s particularly good at it.


Trump is attack former President Obama now after Obama yesterday called on

Americans to soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of those of

any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred.  In response,

President Trump Tweeted a quote from Brian Kilmeade of Fox News saying did

George Bush ever condemned President Obama after Sandy Hook?  President

Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign.  Not many people said Obama

is out of control.  Mass shootings were happening before the President even

thought about running.


But let`s talk about the idiocy of this thing.  First of all, he claims as

an intellectually higher authority, a commentator on Fox.  It doesn`t

embarrass him.  He`s not quoting Rudyard Kipling.  He`s just – just some

character speaks better than he does, and he acknowledges in his words, and

he hates Obama.  He`s never gotten over what Obama said about him at that

White House correspondents` dinner.  He made fun of him because of the

idiocy of what he was doing professionally.


ALCINDOR:  Well, there are so many people that see President Trump as just

grasping for the legacy of President Obama and is still angry at the fact

that he isn`t beloved in the way he thinks President Obama was and,

frankly, in the way that President Obama was to a lot of people.  He`s

still grasping for this idea that he, even though he won the 2016 election,

nobody was really there praising him or excited about him.


MATTHEWS:  Obama won two majority votes of the American people.  A small

point, but he won both popular majorities.


ALCINDOR:  Then we can all go back to the first scandal of this presidency,

which is that he was trying to claim that his inauguration was bigger than

Obama`s.  From the very beginning, he`s had this kind of – this rhetorical

thing –


MATTHEWS:  Does it bother him that Obama is black, to be blunt?  I mean,

we`ve watched this guy pattern, excuse me.  Does that bother him?


ALCINDOR:  I mean, here`s the thing, he kicked off his political career,

his political life by saying Obama wasn`t born in this country.  So I think

there is – of course, there`s a problem there with him personally with

President Obama.  I don`t know if it`s because he is black.  Maybe Jason

can say that.  But it`s definitely because, obviously –


MATTHEWS:  But I don`t think it`s an odd question.  He seems to be really

bugged by this guy and his success.


JOHNSON:  It infuriates Donald Trump for anybody to be more popular or more

beloved than him.  And he really has never been able to deal with the fact

that, one, like you said, Chris, that Obama made fun of him, but that this

black guy has gotten all the love, all the appreciation, even from the same

New York elites that used to like Donald Trump in the way the has had.


MATTHEWS:  Guess who`s moving to New York, by the way?


JOHNSON:  Who`s moving?


MATTHEWS:  Barack Obama.  It`s going to drive him crazy.


JOHNSON:  Exactly.  He`ll be in his own neighborhood.


MATTHEWS:  And, by the way, guess who has a lot of money now?  Barack



Anyway, I`m not going to belittle the conversation, but it is kind of

delightful anyway.


And, by the way, I think it bothers him that Obama has moral superiority to



JOHNSON:  Completely, even now.


MATTHEWS:  For a guy that`s messed around a lot in his life, and I`m not

knock it per se, because a lot of people do and I don`t like it.  But the

fact is Barack Obama has been an upstanding husband, father, has done every

single thing morally right in his life, it seems, in terms of public life. 

It must bug him.


Anyway, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ignoring demands to call

the Senate into session from its vacation to vote on gun safety measure. 

It was a vote that passed the House this year, passed both measures.


And while he said he is prepared to address the recent mass murders in a

bipartisan way, that will be a first, NBC notes that his statement made no

mention of any timeline to do so, and he didn`t mention the word guns.


McConnell is also facing criticism for his re-election campaign`s attempt

this weekend at a partisan joke.  His campaign Tweeted, there they are,

Tweeted out an image of several tombstones, there they are, including one

bearing the name of his democratic opponent in next year`s election, even

while the news of the El Paso attack was breaking.


Bret Stephens, bad editorial judgment here to put tombstones out in

whatever, some sort of email message to your followers right after a mass





MATTHEWS:  Same day.


STEPHENS:  I mean, obviously, some P.R. flak should get fired.  It was

idiotic.  But it`s also the significant point is that it`s not just

idiotic, it`s emblematic.  You have a Senate.  You have a Republican

Congress that has been absolutely unwilling to move on even the most basic

steps for common sense gun control to prevent the fact that a shooter can

kill nine people and injure many more in the space of the 30 seconds that

it takes to stop him.


And the Senate Majority Leader is not prepared to lift a finger to even try

to check that.  Even the Governor of Ohio, former Senator, Governor DeWine,

is prepared to act.  But it`s extraordinary that the Republican Party has

put up such a wall of opposition to minimal movement and that Trump quite

frankly hasn`t had so much – even had the political common sense to

understand that he could get – he could make real headway and be a useful

president for a change by getting behind some of the basic gun control laws

that he himself suggested he might support, like bans on bump stocks after

the Parkland shootings.  So this is McConnell in his –


MATTHEWS:  But you know why, Bret.  You studied ideology.  He has to carry

all the weight of the farthest right.  He can`t give away – he doesn`t

have enough angry white people to give away any of them.  In America, he

needs all the way to the farthest reaches of fascism.  He needs to reach

them all to get his 46 or 47 percent, he can win the electoral college.


STEPHEN:  Correct.  And Senator McConnell is now facing a credible

challenger in the Senate.  He`s unpopular in Kentucky.  And he imagines

that the only way he is going to win is with a base play that completely

ignores the needs of the country so that he can have the support of the NRA

and other aspects of the gun lobby.


The problem is that we`re living in a country in which thousands of people

are being killed because there`s insufficient gun regulation and in which

the number of mass shootings just seems to be rising geometrically, if not,



MATTHEWS:  Well, the President has now continued to propose solutions that

ignore the essential reality of guns.  How about mentioning guns in mass

shootings?  They play a role.


For instance, the President yesterday blamed video games.




DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  We must stop the glorification of violence

in our society.  This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are

now commonplace.




MATTHEWS:  That`s the President reading something that was thrown at him. 

Some people said he was sight reading it.  He had never read it before.


In addressing the mass shootings on his website, former Arkansas Governor,

wait until you get this one, Huckabee said, the lack of thought and prayers

is probably the single biggest factor in what is behind them.  That`s about

the shootings.  And Fox`s Sean Hannity proposed installing armed guards in

every public building, in other words, that there aren`t enough guns out

there, enough already.  Let`s watch him.




SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST:  I have been calling for a long time.  Every

school, secure the perimeter of those schools.  Equip them with retired

police and military.  They should be on every floor of every school.


We could do that with stores.  We can do that in malls.  We can do that

pretty much anywhere the public is, court houses.  We can expand that out



Have one armed guard on every floor of every school, all over every mall,

the perimeter and inside every hall of every mall.




MATTHEWS:  My God, he`s AOC.  Everybody works today.  I mean, that`s a full

employment program, every floor of every school, of every department store? 

This is a job for everybody.


JOHNSON:  I love this police state, this police state that basically Sean

Hannity is calling for for everybody to have.  So there are several

problems with this.


Number one –


MATTHEWS:  You do have as many guards as teachers.


JOHNSON:  Right, exactly.


MATTHEWS:  And they may make as much.


JOHNSON:  And they`re probably being paid better, you know?


So there are so many issues so there are so many issues with this.


MATTHEWS:  Okay.  Let`s go back.  I`ve got to go back to Huckabee.  Would

you take on Huckabee?  I mean, this is what, Sodom and Gomorrah is causing

our problems?  I mean, I don`t know.  But isn`t this second or square (ph)

where we talk about things, why does he come up with this stuff?


ALCINDOR:  I mean, one, obviously, because it`s part of who he is.  His

core thing is to put Christianity and to put his religion at the forefront

of things.  And there are people that think more love, more Christianity

would help.


But I should tell you, I interviewed Anthony Reynolds.  This was a man ten

feet away from the shooter in Dayton.  And the thing that he said coming

out of that was he shouldn`t be able to have this gun that I saw him kill

people with.


When you talk to people who are now living through this, they say, the

thing that scared me more was the gun.  It was the idea that someone can

have ammunition with 100 rounds of ammunition and kill all these people. 

24 seconds, 30 seconds and nine people are dead.  That`s incredible.  And I

think that that`s what most people want to be focused on, especially the

people that I`ve been talking to who survived these mass shootings.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much.  Take care.  Toni Morrison today.


ALCINDOR:  I know.  I cried all day about this.


MATTHEWS:  So many great heroes.


ALCINDOR:  A genius.


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Yamiche Alcindor, thank you, Jason Johnson,

and thank you, Bret Stephens.


Coming up, two of the democrats running for president join me, South Bend

Mayor Pete Buttigieg and and impeachment activist and presidential

candidate Tom Steyer, both coming here on HARDBALL right now.  We`ll hear

their solutions to our current national crisis and crises and the role

President Trump has played in, well, starting them.


And with white nationalist violence on the rise, why is the government

cutting resources, moolah, to fighting domestic terrorism?  You show where

your (INAUDIBLE) the government where you`re spending money, we`re cutting

it.  We`re dealing with these kinds of problems.


And why some experts say there are striking similarities between the

radicalization of white nationalists and members of ISIS.


Much more ahead.  Stay with us.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


In his remarks at the White House yesterday, the teleprompter version of

President Trump blasted the white nationalist sentiment that appeared to

motivate the Texas gunman, and offered his own assortment of ideas to

reduce gun violence. 





must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. 


We must stop the glorification of violence in our society.  This includes

the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. 


Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.


Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside – so destructive –

and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion, and love. 




MATTHEWS:  There was a significant omission, however, any mention of the

Latino community of El Paso that was targeted by the gunman, who parroted

Trump`s own words in his online rant about an invasion of Hispanics coming

across the border. 


I`m joined right now by Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who is

running for the Democratic nomination for president. 


Mayor, Mayor Pete, thank you for coming on. 


I don`t know where you want to begin on this guy.  But it seems to me like

his on-teleprompter lines weren`t credible. 



consistent with the message we have been getting him – from him all along,

demonizing Mexicans and Latinos and immigrants, often celebrating violence,

or at least seeming to go along with it when political violence is being

cheered on at his rallies. 


Look, what we saw was the absolute bare minimum that you would expect from

a president, but what we need from a president is two things, first of all,

the ability to unify this country, and, secondly, the ability to lead the

way on something that will actually make us safe. 


Earlier today, I put out an action plan on national security when it comes

to these kinds of incidents.  It`s really got two sets of things we have

got to deal with.  One of them is gun safety.  The other one is countering



This administration has actually reduced the capacity of the Department of

Homeland Security to deal with homegrown terrorism and violent extremism in

our midst.  We have got change that. 


And, of course, we have got to deliver commonsense gun safety reform,

something the president could do with one phone call to Mitch McConnell,

especially knowing that the House has already passed some measures, only to

have them not even get a vote in the Senate. 


MATTHEWS:  Right. 


BUTTIGIEG:  Actions speak louder than words.  Let`s see if the president is

going the act in any way.  I don`t have my hopes up, but if it was ever a

time for him to do something out of character, this would be it. 


MATTHEWS:  But his words, even in the teleprompter speech that was written

for him, or written with him, he said it`s not guns that kill people, it`s

the mental illness and the hatred.


I mean, that is aping the language or mimicking the alliance of the NRA

that guns don`t kill people, people do, or whatever. 


BUTTIGIEG:  Well, and it`s absurd to point to video games. 


Look, violent video games are available in every developed country, but

we`re the only one that has this kind of frequency and intensity of gun

violence.  He is repeating lines given to him by an NRA that no longer

speaks for most gun owners in this country. 


Most gun owners, most Americans, most Republicans think we ought to at

least do things like background checks and red flag laws.  The NRA now

speaks for gun company executives, for whom this is a matter of money, and

who will continue to defy any kind of commonsense call for things like

background checks, things like red flag laws, not to mention the ban that

we need on the kind of weapons that makes it possible for somebody in

Dayton to kill as many people as he killed in less than a minute. 


This is common sense.  Most Americans are there.  And it is time for the

Congress and this president to respond to the American people.  I don`t

think they will, which is why we need to vote them out. 


And I`m running based, among other things, on my proposals to keep America

safe from violent extremism in particular and gun violence in general. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, teach us something here, because you have carried

firearms.  You have carried these military-style – what is an assault

weapon, as opposed to just any run-of-the-mill semiautomatic rifle? 


Explain what a military-style weapon is. 


BUTTIGIEG:  Well, the definition includes several different features. 


One of the key ones is the way the magazine works, having the

interchangeable magazines.  Another has to do with the kind of grip,

whether it`s a pistol grip or another grip that makes it easier for these

kinds of close-action firing that goes on. 


The bottom line is, we know that weapons of war don`t belong in our

neighborhoods.  And yet, for far too long, the gun lobby has made it sound

like you cannot have any restriction of any kind of any weapon for any



Now, if you just stopped and thought about that for a sec, that`s obviously

not the case, because, in this country, anybody can have a water balloon,

nobody can have a nuclear weapon.  Somewhere in that spectrum, we`re going

draw a line. 


So it`s not like the Second Amendment doesn`t allow us to draw a line.  We

have just got to decide where. 


And I think, in the wake of what we have seen, not that it should have

required something like this horrific weekend for us to do it, but if not

now, when?  We have got to have these commonsense measures. 


We have also got to add to the resources that are available to our

government in order to deal with domestic terrorism.  I propose that we

have a billion dollars in an account where right now they have actually cut

it from $10 million to less for countering violent extremism. 


If we were able after 9/11, however imperfectly, to step up and undertake a

tremendous amount of added capacity to deal with international terrorism,

we ought to be able to do the same thing when the threat is coming from

white supremacist terrorism. 


It may be embarrassing for this administration to act on it, because that

would mean acknowledging that this ideology that they have sometimes

aligned themselves with is killing Americans, but it`s plain as day.  It`s

right in front of us, and we have got to act. 


MATTHEWS:  Would you expect – if you were in a situation like Dayton right

now, another Midwestern city, would you expect the president, welcome him

positively into the city after an incident like this? 


BUTTIGIEG:  You know, first of all, I want to say Nan Whaley is doing a

phenomenal job as the mayor of Dayton, doing what mayors do, just like what

presidents should do, which is bring people together in a time of grief and

in a time when people really need that kind of leadership. 


She is obviously being put in a difficult position by a president who wakes

up in the morning and complains about his predecessor in the context of

this tragedy, and then decides that tomorrow he wants to show up in her

community, where people are grieving.


And who knows what he is going to say.  A mayor customarily greets a

president, but this shouldn`t even be a – under a healthy presidency, this

shouldn`t even be a question or a problem.  You should be able to feel like

a president of either party, whether you agree with them or not, coming to

your city is an honor. 


And, unfortunately, this president has so divided Americans, that it`s

really hard to say whether his upcoming visits will do more good or more

harm.  And we`re just going to have to see what happens tomorrow. 


MATTHEWS:  You know, you write a lot in your proposals for action, which

were admiral, about – but the intersocial metric kind of connections like

the role of misogyny, for example, with regard to this white racism, with

this anger. 


But the bigger question to me – and it`s all – these are all parts of it

– is this level of violent anger in this country. 


Even if you don`t count armed weapons, arms, if you don`t use them, people

kill people for – with other means in this country, like no other country

in the world.  It`s like a big percentage of the people who murder people

in this country use them without arms, without guns. 


What is – why are people, so many – so much anger out there that reaches

the level of killing and violence?  Any theory?  It`s a big question, I



BUTTIGIEG:  Well, we have got overlapping problems here. 


We have got – yes, we have got extremist ideology, which is killing

people.  We have got the loose policies on guns in this country, which is

contributing to people getting killed, and then you got this broader

question of just where we are as a country and where people are. 


You see the rise, for example, in deaths, what are called deaths from

despair, drug overdose and suicide.  And there is no question that things

are troubled in this country.  It`s made dramatically worse by our failure

to enact commonsense gun reform, like what I`m calling for today. 


But you`re right.  Even as we act in that direction, we have also got to

ask some deeper questions about where we are as a country.  So much

attention, correctly, goes into the policy functions of the presidency. 

But we ought to look at the moral function of the presidency too, that

symbolic part of the job that I didn`t much care about when I was a



All I cared about was policy and things you could measure.  And now, having

been mayor of a community that`s been through a lot, having watched what`s

happening in our country when you don`t have moral leadership from the

president, you begin to understand how important that part of the

presidency is. 


It`s not only a function of political office.  But what we know is that

America is at a vulnerable moment in the history of our people.  We need to

be brought together.  It`s one of the reasons why I have proposed national

service, just one way to get Americans to be in a position…


MATTHEWS:  I agree.


BUTTIGIEG:  … to get to know each other better, rebuild some of that

social fabric and lift each other up. 


Look, we can`t fix every problem overnight.  But what we do know is that

these commonsense actions on counterterrorism in the domestic context, on

gun violence will save lives, not every life, but so many lives that shame

on us if we don`t do it now. 


MATTHEWS:  You know, you speak like a guy who would be a good president. 

Thank you so much.


I love the way you talk about these things, because it raises our level of

understanding in our hearts. 


Thank you so much, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South – South Bend, of course.


Up next:  Violence fueled by white racism or racialism is on the rise and

nationalism, so why did the Trump administration actually cut the funding

for programs aimed at dealing with these very problems? 


You`re watching HARDBALL. 






CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR:  I will say that a majority of the domestic

terrorism cases that we have investigated are motivated by some version of

what you might call white supremacist violence, but it includes other

things as well. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


That was FBI Director Christopher Wray last month telling lawmakers that a

majority of the domestic terrorism suspects they have arrested in the past

nine months are white supremacists. 


In fact, extremist-related murders spiked 35 percent from 2017 to 2018,

making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995. 


According to the Anti-Defamation League, last year, every one of those

extremist-related murders was carried out by a right-wing extremist. 


Well, “The New York Times” cites FBI statistics showing that there have

been eight mass shootings in the United States since 2017 in which the

attackers espoused white supremacist views. 


And while President Trump said yesterday that he would provide the FBI with

whatever it needs to combat this growing problem, his administration has

actually cut money from the agencies that target domestic terrorism. 


Among them, the Department of Homeland Security has reassigned a group of

intelligence analysts who did focus on domestic terrorism, reduced funding

at the DHS office handling domestic terrorism from $21 million down to less

than $3 million, and cut grants to local organizations working to prevent

members from becoming radicalized. 


And it`s not just the cuts that are causing problems for law enforcement. 

Like most things today, it comes down to politics and the president`s

political base.  And that`s next. 


You`re watching HARDBALL. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 


As the country faces a growing threat of white nationalist violence,

federal agencies are scrambling to counter these types of attacks after

money cuts. 


A Department of Homeland Security official tells NBC News, for example,

that the feeling of DHS out there is, uh-oh, we have a problem. 


A former FBI supervisor who oversaw terrorism cases, Dave Gomez, tells “The

Washington Post”: “I think in many ways the FBI is hamstrung in trying to

investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would.  There

is some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that

targets what the president perceives as his base,” political base.


“It`s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”


For more, I`m joined by Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director for

counterintelligence at the FBI, Malcolm Nance, MSNBC terrorism analyst, and

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, professor at the American University and the author

of “The Extreme Gone Mainstream.”



Boy, I don`t know where to start, but I got to go with Frank on the one



Frank, what is your sense about the morale problems of agents who are

afraid to go after white nationalist groups because they`re afraid what`s -

- they don`t know what side the president`s on? 



isn`t opening a case on a case on domestic terrorism headed to violence

because he`s worried about the president, the FBI agent should be fired. 


I don`t agree with that statement that`s been made.  That`s not the



The problem is that we don`t have the investigative tools in the toolkit. 

The FBI and law enforcement isn`t permitted to be where they need to be to

see this happening and unfolding. And the issue is a serious one for

society to wrestle with, which is one of free speech and hate speech and

when that becomes violent. 


So, the Supreme Court said once about obscenity, we know it when we see it. 


Well, we know violence when we see it, but, when it`s happening, it`s too

late.  We`re cleaning up the carnage. 


MATTHEWS:  Right. 


FIGLIUZZI: So we need to get in there before to see it happen and develop. 


And the problem is Americans really don`t want people spying on

conversations and their weekend groups and their church groups.  We don`t

want that.  So we`ve got to come up with a definition and a law that works

for us. 


And a start would be to criminalize the concept of domestic terrorism and

make it look like international terrorism.  We have plenty of laws

regarding international terrorism.  If you change the religion of the El

Paso shooter and change his motivation to Islam and violent jihad, you`ve

got laws to address it.  We`ve got a white guy driving from Dallas, we got

nothing but the fact that he shot up and killed people. 


MATTHEWS:  What about the president paralleling a terrorist encourage imam,



FIGLIUZZI:  Well, look, I`m seeing a radicalization play out here.  There

is very little room between what we see in Islamic jihad radicalization to

violence and what we`re seeing on white supremacy, white nationalism call

to action.  They`re aligning with a leader, a kind of father figure who is

giving them license. 


Now there is a distinction.  President Trump, to be clear has never called

for direct violent action.  But understand that unstable people don`t make

that distinction.  It`s lost on them.  So, they`re feeling encouraged by

it.  And the president`s press conference yesterday didn`t go far enough to

say that he personally condemns that ideology. 


So the radicalization process has not been disrupted.  And unfortunately,

we may see more violence unless this inciter in chief comes out and says I

need you to stop this. 


MATTHEWS:  Cynthia, what cause as white supremacist to be a white

supremacist to the extent of believing they`re going to take action,

violent action to make the country – ethnic cleansing, whatever you`re

going to call it, these people are killing people who aren`t white. 



think a lot of people understand white supremacy to be based on

dehumanizing ideologies, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia.  What people

don`t understand is there are other components to it too.  When you get to

the extremist fringe, you`re talking about people who believe there is an

existential threat.  They believe that their people are imminently

threatened, and that they have to take action. 


And they also believe that violence is the solution to that problem and

that it`s their obligation to what`s called accelerate societal discord

through violence that will lead to a new world order.  So they think

they`re being heroic. 


MATTHEWS:  When does it start?  You`re the expert.  Is it from anger –

failure to deal with your relationships with women?  Is it – because these

are all guys. 


MILLER-IDRISS:  Most of what we`re seeing is they`re being drawn in by two

sets of emotional impulses.  One is a desire to belong, to have a sense of

purpose, to contribute to something bigger and better than themselves. 

They want meaning in their lives. 


The other is anger, fear, disfranchisement, perceived inequality.  They

think they`re being left behind, even when it`s not really true.  And that

kind of emotional impulse, those two impulses are goaded by mainstream

political rhetoric that tells them there are invaders coming and that, you

know, they are being replaced and that they have to take action. 


MATTHEWS:  Malcolm, your feelings and thoughts about the last couple of

days.  I haven`t talked to you since these things happened. 



finally in for a great societal change where we`re finally addressing this



You know, when I wrote – I wrote a book last year called “The Plot to

Destroy Democracy.”  And one of the chapters I led off with the massacre of

68 children in Norway by the original white supremacist terrorist who

created the concept of this terrorist manifesto, Anders Behring Breivik. 


And he did that because he thought the great replacement was under way in

Norway and the government was allowing unbridled immigration into that

country.  So, in his trial, he said he massacred those children because he

wanted to eliminate the next generation of liberal leadership from Norway

as a warning. 


This country has had several of these mass incidents, but I think we`re

overdue for a Breivik-style real massacre of a political nature.  And as

Cynthia said, these people feel that they are the foot soldiers and

executors of what the disenfranchisement that the white race is feeling,

and Donald Trump is giving them subliminal orders in their head.  They are

no different than the mobilized, you know, self-starting radical – self-

radicalized terrorists of ISIS here in the United States and Europe who

take cars and drive down streets.  It`s just that they have a permissive

environment in which they can get firearms and go out and attack their

perceived enemies. 


MATTHEWS:  Wow.  Where to begin?  We`ve just begun this terrible



Thank you, Frank Figliuzzi.  Thank you, Malcolm Nance.  And thank you,

Cynthia Miller-Idriss. 


Up next, the shooting in El Paso has put Trump on the defensive again over

his divisive rhetoric, and his failure to move forward on gun reforms in

any way.  President candidate – actually presidential candidate Tom Steyer

is going to join us to talk about all this and his main cause so far has

been impeachment, right after this break.  He`ll be here live. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


President Trump is on defense over his response to the mass shootings at El

Paso and at Dayton, Ohio, facing condemnation over a lack of action on gun

control, and his past anti-immigrant rhetoric, of course, which goes back

to the day his campaign for president began. 


Let`s watch. 





people, they`re not sending their best.  They`re bringing drugs.  They`re

bringing crime, they`re rapists. 


The border, people are fantastic, Border Patrol, your military are

fantastic.  I`m going have to call up more military.  But our military,

don`t forget, can`t act like a military would act because if they got a

little rough, everybody would go crazy. 


But we`re taking people out of the country.  You wouldn`t believe how bad

these people are.  These aren`t people.  These are animals. 




MATTHEWS:  Trump later said that he was using that word “animals” to

describe members of the MS-13 gang.  Yes.


I`m joined now by Tom Steyer, long-time activist and 2020 presidential



Tom, thank you for joining us.


Mr. Steyer, it seems to me that well – well, let me layer your voice about

this.  Trump clearly was lying here.  He`s not talking about people. 


They come up here out of economic desperation.  Sometimes they really have

hopes for getting good jobs up here.  They`re not sent up here by the

government.  That`s not true. 


And the idea of having soldiers of the United States Army mow them down or

whatever he means by using the army the way he wants it, get a little rough

with them, what does he mean by that? 


So, he seems to have demonized Mexican-Americans and other Latin American

people coming up here, demonized them to the point of being rapists and

thugs and animals.  That`s what he does.  Your thoughts? 


TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Chris, it`s not just that he is

fomenting an atmosphere of hate and racial divisiveness.  I think we all

know he is doing that.  He is also making it clear that violence is a

response to that.  He`s been doing it recently with regard to the four

young congresswomen of color where he`s encouraging chants of send them

home – get rid of them, they`re not real Americans is the implication of





STEYER:  And I think that he is – if you look at the change in hate crimes

since he`s been president, he`s effectively given license to racists to act

out their worst impulses, and he is doing the exact opposite of what the

president of the United States should do, which is to talk about the values

of justice and equality that are the very core of our country and that I

think should be animating every presidential candidate and certainly every

president to bring this country together instead to try to divide us for

his own political purposes. 


MATTHEWS:  You`re trying to be elected president and you have a full-

fledged campaign.  You`ve run the ads on our program here.  That`s going on

right now.


And I think – I guess the question to you is, how would you like to get

rid of this president?  By impeachment or bouncing him at the polls next



STEYER:  Look, from the very beginning, Chris, I`ve said there are three

ways we can get rid of him.  Impeach him and remove him from office.  He

resigns, which he`ll never do, or beat him at the polls. 


And right now, the impeachment process is continuing.  The grassroots are

working.  The majority of Democrats in Congress have come out for an

impeachment inquiry.


But I am working full time to become the Democratic nominee for president

because I view this problem we`re having in El Paso, what we saw in El Paso

and Dayton, Ohio, as part of a bigger problem.  And I see it as a function

and a symptom of a failed government that this government – this is the

over 250 incidents of mass shootings this year in the United States.  We`ve

seen this same horrible tragedy play out in community after community, and

the Congress has done nothing. 


MATTHEWS:  Let`s talk about your campaign and how you`re going to win this

thing, because you`re in this with big money.  You`re going to spend $100

million.  That`s a big investment for anyone, whatever their wealth. 


My question is how do you turn the corner and go from, we`ve got about 10,

15 candidates now that can`t break two points.  How do you get past them

and on to passing Buttigieg who was on the program tonight to getting into

the top three or four?  How do you do it? 


STEYER:  Well, my basic assumption is what we have to do is confront this

broken government which is a function of a hostile corporate takeover of

our democracy, and we have to get back to government of, by and for the



And as somebody who as an outsider has been organizing coalitions of

ordinary American citizens to take on that unchecked corporate power for 10

years and beating them – beating the oil companies, beating the tobacco

companies and beating the drug companies – and organizing people to show

up and vote in completely different proportion from before, I believe that

kind of experience, ten years of grassroots organizing and beating

corporations is what we need to reform Washington, so we don`t have this

sad conversation next year and the year after about we have another mass

shooting, we have another white nationalist attack and we`re doing nothing

about it. 


It`s time for Americans to take back the democracy.  And that`s got to come

from the outside, Chris.  I`m sorry.  It does. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, I give you credit.  You`re putting your money where your

mouth is and you`re in the arena, like Teddy Roosevelt.  It`s better to be

in the arena than standing outside it, mouthing slogans.  You`re in there,

and thank you for that. 


Tom Steyer, thank you for coming on the program. 


STEYER:  Thank you, Chris. 


MATTHEWS:  Up next, one thing Democrats need to learn from the other side. 

You have to beat the other side.  The way you have to do it is get tough

and play some hardball.  I like that word. 


You`re watching HARDBALL.




MATTHEWS:  I`ve watched the Democratic debates, of course, with great

interest.  What I want to know is how they intend to govern from the White

House while Mitch McConnell is still leading from the U.S. Senate.  Because

McConnell`s majority of 53 seats accords him the power to ignore any

proposal the president sends up. 


But if Democrats threw their best candidates on to the field, that three-

vote majority could end up gone.  The Democrats have decent prospects in

Maine and Arizona, offset by a critical challenge in Alabama, where Doug

Jones is fighting for reelection. 


But imagine if Governor Steve Bullock were out there running for the Senate

in Montana, if John Hickenlooper out there running in Colorado, or Beto

O`Rourke in Texas, the more attractive candidates Democrats have out there,

the more likely they`ll pick up seats they need to take the Senate. 


You know, the one thing the Democrats need to learn from the Republicans is

to get serious about building their power.  Republicans spent years working

on the state legislatures.  It gave them the majorities they needed when

reapportionment time came. 


We live in a country when the Senate majority leader said one of his

proudest moments was when he looked Obama in the eye and told him he wasn`t

going to get his Supreme Court nominee even considered, not even

considered.  A Senate majority leader who`s has earned the name Moscow

Mitch for refusing to let cyber security measures on the floor, refuse to

let the Senate look at assault rifle bans. 


So, as Joe Biden likes to say, here`s the deal.  You Democrats go out there

and pick up a net three Senate seats.  Then if a Democrat beats Trump, it`s

enough for the new president to govern, to begin to meet some of the

promises he or she has made. 


If not, enjoy the debates because that`s all you`re going get.  Debates and

promises that don`t pass bills, because bills don`t get passed by debates,

they get passed by majorities in the U.S. Senate. 


And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us. 


“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now. 







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